The recent death of Sylvester Oromoni, a student of Dowen College in Lagos and the allegations of cult-related activities in the highbrow school has raised questions on cultism in secondary schools.
DAILY POST investigation reveals that violent cults now have junior cadre in secondary schools in states like Nasarawa and FCT.
Master Oromoni, in his dying declaration, accused some students of beating him in what bears semblance to the initiation rites of secret cults in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Police in Lagos State has confirmed the arrest of three of the students mentioned by the late student.
While the case of the Dowen College has attracted nationwide condemnations, including resolutions at the two chambers of the National Assembly, findings revealed that bullying and cultism are very pronounced in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Red Skin, which is the junior frat to the pirate secret cult and black skull, which is the junior boys for black axe are the two most popular in Abuja and Nasarawa State. Girls in these schools are also not left out, as Black bra, Red bra Daughters of Jezebel and White Angel also give girls the platform.
Hot spots in Kubwa, Dutsen Alhaji Schools
Dutse Alhaji, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory is a typical Abuja town with blend of middle class and slums. The nature of the town appears to have prepared a perfect ground tor cultism.
Speaking with DAILY POST, a student of GSS, Dutsen Alhaji, popularly called Ash and Red, Stephen Ani (Not real name) said different cult groups exist in the school.
He mentioned the names of the cult groups in the schools to include White Angels, redskin, Aro and black skull.
According to him, the last initiation in the school was busted, resulting in some arrest. He said the initiation took place behind the school fence.
“During the last initiation by the White Angels, a young girl who wanted to join was raped by 3 boys.”
He claimed any lady who wishes to join would have to go through the experience of being raped by the male members.
According to him, the school security man saw them and raised the alarm. They were caught, brought to the assembly ground naked.
He narrated further that the girl in question spent over two months in the hospital due to the severity of the injury she sustained.
According to Stephen, the Aro and Ogede cult groups always engage in fight for superiority, collecting students’ money and phones. “They don’t stay in class. They fight both security men and teachers. There was an incident recently where a fellow student was stabbed and was scaled through the fence for treatment at the Kubwa General Hospital.
“When the doctor saw his school badge, the school was contacted. One of the cultists escaped and the other was arrested.”
Speaking on the school’s effort, Stephen said the school recently banned small bags being carried by student as they mostly contain weapons.
According to him, the school also banned Lacasera drinks as its container is often used to convey drugs and other drinks to the school.
DAILY POST is unable to verify the claims by this source as effort to reach the school authority proved abortive.
Another student, Oche (not real name) who was initiated when he was in SS1, while speaking with DAILY POST said most of the rituals for initiation are similar to the main confraternity.
“Some of the secondary schools’ students that are doing very well, are even allowed to attend meetings or social gatherings. You know, what is happening at the junior boys level is patterned towards the main cult groups.”
According to Oche, the main attraction for some of these students include recognition and getting girls. He noted that cultism is no longer restricted to the walls of higher institutions, but even street gangs now affiliate with any of the numerous groups.
Investigation revealed that there is a strong connection between these secondary schools and the fraternity in tertiary institutions around the environment.
“You don’t need to attend any university or Poly to see frats, even in your area, boys are everywhere. Everyone wants to feel among.
“The process of beating involved in the orientation could be very brutal. Aside from that, refusal to join has dire consequences. This has further entrenched the culture of bullying and harassment among students,” Oche said.
In Nyanya axis of Abuja, schools like Government Secondary School, LEA Secondary School and Kings & Queen Secondary school have earned some reputation. A source familiar with the area described cultism in those schools as “alarming.”
“Some of the notable groups include Aro baggars or German or Akpa,” he said, adding that, “they even enegage in looting of shops without making any effort to conceal their faces, because they feel people knowing them will help improve their rating.”
Rise of cultism in Mararaba, Nasarawa State
The exorbitant cost of accommodation in the city has led to population explosion in Mararaba, a town bordering the Federal Capital Territory. The high population density and poverty have contributed to social vices in the area.
DAILY POST findings revealed that some of these secondary schools have Red Skin and Red Skulls in these schools, and these junior frats are affiliated with Nasarawa Polytechnic, Lafia and the other Polytechnic in Toto.
At Government secondary school Mararaba, “Aiye” or “Bastards A.K.A BSTs are popular among students.
These trends come with bullying
Peter Ejegwoya, a development expert, who spoke with DAILY POST, said even though the initial aspirations of the founders of fraternity in Nigeria include emancipation and fight against oppressors, these ideas have been abandoned for criminality.
“These frats now are symbols of violent criminality and oppression. Some of the secondary school students are in it for the powers they feel cultism can confer on them,” he said.
He added that to address the challenges, society must rejig the old value system and educate these students that cultism brings nothing apart from destruction.
Bullying not linked to cultism
In most schools in Nigeria, the concept of ‘seniority’ and corporal punishment have a long history.
Even though the general observation is that it has reduced, there are still bullying in schools.
DAILY POST investigation revealed that it is still prevalent in public schools, particularly the unity schools owned by the federal government, popularly referred to as federal government colleges.
Speaking to a former student of federal government college, Idoani in Ondo State, she disclosed that while the school has an anti-bullying policy, junior students dare not report cases of bullying for the fear of being targeted as a ‘snitch.’
NB: Daily Post could not mention the name of the FGC student, because she is still a minor.